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For Release: Friday, November 22, 2013

Oak Wilt Reappears in Glenville Neighborhood

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced that the oak tree disease oak wilt has been detected again in the Glen Oaks neighborhood in the town of Glenville, Schenectady County.

"Unfortunately, the 2009 effort did not completely eradicate oak wilt from the area," said DEC Regional Director Gene Kelly. "Additional oak trees will need to be removed in the Glen Oaks neighborhood to stop the spread of this serious disease."

Oak wilt was confirmed for the first time in New York State in 2008 in the Glen Oaks neighborhood and an eradication effort was undertaken in the spring of 2009, before the start of the growing season. DEC worked with oak wilt experts from the US Forest Service and the impacted homeowners to develop the science-based eradication plan. There is no known treatment to contain the infestation and kill the oak wilt fungus other than to remove the infected trees as well as any surrounding host oak trees.

After a concerned Glen Oaks resident provided oak samples in October 2013 that tested positive for the disease, DEC investigated and identified approximately 30 trees that need to be removed in order to protect the remaining oak trees in the area. Additional oak samples are being collected from surrounding areas to determine if further action is necessary to control the spread of this disease.

DEC is in the process of contacting impacted property owners to inform them about oak wilt and provide them with information about how to protect remaining oak trees in the area. Tree removal is expected to take place within the next two to five months. An aggressive eradication response is warranted and feasible to address this serious disease because the infestation is relatively small and isolated in area.

A new DEC emergency order has been issued prohibiting the removal of any living, dead, standing, cut or fallen oak trees or any portion thereof, including branches, logs, stumps or roots, green oak lumber and firewood (of any species) outside of the immediate area unless it has been chipped to less than one inch in two dimensions. The movement of un-chipped materials could result in the spread of the disease.

Oak wilt is a very serious tree disease in the eastern United States, killing thousands of oaks each year in forests, woodlots and home landscapes. It is caused by a fungus, Ceratocystis fagacearum. The fungus grows in the water conducting vessels of host trees and as it does, it causes the vessels to produce gummy plugs that prevent water transport. As water movement within the tree is slowed, the leaves wilt and drop off, and eventually the tree dies.

While prevalent throughout the upper Mississippi River region, Ohio, West Virginia and Texas, the closest known oak wilt infestation to Glenville is about 200 miles west in central Pennsylvania.

For more information about oak wilt or DEC's firewood movement restrictions, please call the Forest Health Information Line toll-free at 1-866-640-0652 or visit DEC's website.

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